A Sense of Place

30sep(sep 30)12:00 pm09nov(nov 9)5:00 pmA Sense of PlacePaintings by Adelaide Murphy Tyrol & Photographs by Richard J Murphy


September 30 (Saturday) 12:00 pm - November 9 (Thursday) 5:00 pm

Event Details

Paintings by Adelaide Murphy Tyrol & Photographs by Richard J. Murphy

Due to events at HCA on Saturday, which is drawing a larger audience than expected, Adelaide Murphy Tyrol and Richard Murphy’s exhibition, A Sense of Place will close on Thursday, November 9th at 5PM (instead of Sunday, November 12th, as originally scheduled). The Gallery will be open with extended hours on Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 5PM. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Exhibition: September 30 – November 9 | Wednesday – Sunday | 12PM – 4PM
Opening Reception: September 30 | 5PM-7PM

A sense of place is personal. It can be geographical, as is Richard Murphy’s, yet command a very emotional response. The natural landscape of Alaska—the mountain peaks and clouds they spawn; the maritime atmosphere and the mood it evokes, define Richard’s sense of place.

Adelaide Murphy Tyrol’s sense of place is more abstract. It is the power of nature, and can’t really be measured. It is that liminal zone between mind and matter—the delicate bridge leading to a deeper understanding of life.

Richard J. Murphy

Richard Murphy’s professional career has been as a newspaper photojournalist.  He began at the Holyoke (MA) Transcript-Telegram, worked for a decade at the Jackson Hole (WY) News, and a quarter of a century at the Anchorage (AK) Daily News. Murphy was on the Anchorage team that won the Pulitzer Prize gold medal for public service in 1998, and leader of the team nominated for a Pulitzer for their photographic coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill the next year. He has taught photojournalism at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and Fairbanks. His current work focuses on climate change and environmental transition. 

Artist Statement

A Sense of Place

My personal sense of place is informed by the natural landscape around me.

My “home mountain” anchors me in Alaska. Rising 4,000 ft from the sea, McHugh Peak dominates three quadrants of the small valley where I live, about a quarter of the way up the mountain. It is also the home of lynx and coyote, black and brown bears, moose, a wolverine and the occasional wolf.

The peak is also the home of clouds. The maritime environment of the western edge of the Chugach Range spawns hurricane force winds, brutal winter Chinook storms, regular squalls of rain and snow, and a bare alpine landscape. The cloud dance around the peak is sometimes a fast moving burlesque fan dance of revelation and concealment, sometimes a slow moving evolution, like a film of a Chinese landscape being painted.

All of the photographs shown here were taken from the same spot, using similar lenses, It is the mountain, and the atmosphere it spawns, that set the mood.

The Melt

While Alaska is experiencing many of the same climate-related changes the rest of the world 
is seeing, the predominate effect in the north is “the melt”. Alaska and all the arctic regions are 
experiencing warming at twice the rate of the rest of the globe. Ice is an essential part of the 
arctic landscape, both above and below the ground. The seasonal ice of the ocean, lakes and 
rivers, and the permafrost underlying the land are being reduced by climatic change.
Sea ice, which used to protect coastal areas from winter storms, arrives later and leaves sooner 
in the year than it historically has, exposing coastal environments to massive erosion. Alaska’s glaciers, which account for 25% of global glacial melt, are in general retreat.

The melting of permafrost which has underlain northern Alaska since the Pleistocene Age, is 
creating a thermokarst landscape that alters the very topography of the land. The potent greenhouse gas methane is released when this ancient ice melts.

None of the ice in these photographs remains in the state you are viewing them. They have all gone to fluid, or in the most recent images, are in the process of doing so. Ice is already forming in parts of Alaska now as you are looking at these images, but there will be less of it this year. Some will never return. 

Adelaide Murphy Tyrol

Adelaide Murphy Tyrol studied painting at the Parsons School of Design and The Art Students League in New York City. She received my Masters of Fine Arts at The Art Institute of Boston. Murphy has made a living as a large format commercial scene painter in New York City and concurrently- as a small format natural history illustrator for regional newspapers and magazines. Her personal work is influenced by these two disparate and life long practices but is a decided and necessary retreat from them. 

Murphy’s large format commercial work has influenced her method of painting ( splashing, pooling, dragging paint and painting with 4’ handle brushes with canvases on the floor) and her small illustrative work has helped to educate her in subject matter preferences. 

Artist Statement

A Sense of Place

I believe the power of nature lies beyond the caliper and in that liminal zone between mind and matter- there can be a delicate bridge leading to a deeper understanding of life. These paintings in particular address different perspectives of reality—how we can see the macro and the micro—the object and it’s reflection, the order and the chaos, the far and the distant—at the same time.

These ideas are companions to my work; they excite me and keep me intellectually connected to my world. But a painting, first and foremost, is a physical entity. Each piece is a visual balancing act weighing light with dark, smooth with rough, deliberate with accidental. A painting is formed by many things, but in the end, it is paint on panel. Somehow this balancing act of materials and physical properties has the potential to express deep and untethered parts of the mind.


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